Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder
Patient education is an effective tool in supporting compliance and treatment for a diagnosis. It is important to consider effective ways to educate patients and their families about a diagnosis—such as coaching, brochures, or videos—and to recognize that the efficacy of any materials may differ based on the needs and learning preferences of a particular patient. Because patients or their families may be overwhelmed with a new diagnosis, it is important that materials provided by the practitioner clearly outline the information that patients need to know.
For this Assignment, you will pretend that you are a contributing writer to a health blog. You are tasked with explaining important information about Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder in language appropriate for child/adolescent patients and/or their caregivers.
Your assigned diagnosis is Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder
Research signs and symptoms for Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder
pharmacological treatments, nonpharmacological treatments, and appropriate community resources and referrals.
In a 500-word blog post written for a patient and/or caregiver audience, explain signs and symptoms for your Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, pharmacological treatments, nonpharmacological treatments, and appropriate community resources and referrals.
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Patient Education for Carers on Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder
What is DMDD?
DMDD is a condition that causes disturbance in mood manifested in a child or adolescent as severe irritability, anger, and intense outbursts. Children and adolescents with DMDD often experience problems, at home, at school, and in other social settings because the condition causes significant impairment to function normally. Some of the early signs that could indicate your child has DMDD include frequent hospitalizations and school suspensions.
How do I differentiate normal irritability from severe irritability?
Normally, children react irritably when told something they do not like. However, children and adolescents with DMDD express irritability that is beyond the expected proportion, for example, outbursts that lead to hitting or breaking stuff. In this case, the child has trouble tolerating frustration.
Children with DMDD have trouble maintaining healthy relationships with family or peers, as well as functioning well in social settings and activities such as team sports.
What Symptoms should you look out for?
Some of the symptoms that show you your child has DMDD include:
Extreme temper outbursts manifested in the form of behavioral or verbal outbursts towards people including aggression and yelling respectively. When these occur on average three times or more per week, then the child could be having DMDD.
The tantrums are blown out of proportion inconsistent with the child’s developmental stage, for example, destruction of property is not a normal reaction for a 9-year-old child.
In between the tantrums, a child continues to show irritability and angry mood most of the day and occur nearly daily.
In addition, the disturbance does not occur only at home, but in multiple places including in school and with peers.
These symptoms must be present for approximately 12 months for a diagnosis to occur.
Moreover, the child is between the age of 6 and 17 years, outside this age bracket the diagnosis does not occur.
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What to can carers/parents do?
When you observe these symptoms and suspect that your child could be having DMDD, it is important to seek a health care provider to evaluate your child or give a referral to a mental health professional. Also, talk to your child’s teacher or school counselor to find more about his/her behavior at school.
Important to note:
As the child grows, the symptoms may change from frequent outbursts to depressive symptoms or anxiety.
What are the Treatment Options Available?
Being a newly classified condition, DMDD does not FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) approved medications for children and adolescents. However, practitioners prescribe off-label drugs that have supporting evidence for effectiveness in treating irritability, mood regulation, and others symptoms related to similar conditions such as ADHD. The medications include stimulants for treating irritability, antidepressants for mood and irritability and less commonly used atypical antipsychotic medications. These are rarely used because of the tendency for severe side effects, and thus, only considered when other medication options have failed to produce the expected therapeutic benefits. Nevertheless, parents must understand that these drugs have side effects, for example, antidepressants can result in suicidal thoughts.
Non-pharmacological approaches are always the first option to try when a child or adolescent is diagnosed with DMDD. Talk therapy is especially good for children and adolescents with DMDD. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the approaches that help children develop skills to cope better with the thoughts and feelings that cause depression, anxiety, frustrations, and irritability. Another option is dialectical behavior therapy for children (DBT-C), which aims to assist a child to regulate emotions and limit the duration of outbursts. Parental training is also an essential approach, which equips parents and carers with knowledge and skills to respond better to the irritable behaviors expressed by their children.
Community resources are available both online and offline that can assist parents/carers whose children have DMDD.
For more resources and information on DMDD, parents can check:
National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health: https://www.ffcmh.org/
Mental Health America: https://www.mhanational.org/
Children’s Disability & Special Needs: https://www.comeunity.com/disability/speclists.html#ADHD
For peer support: https://ldh.la.gov/index.cfm/page/2578
Parents can also join support groups available in their communities that assist both parents and children overcome the challenges of mental health and cope with better with the situation.
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